Goshen High School seniors Michael Glick and Madison Karpoff took first and second place, respectively, in the Orange County Veterans Memorial Student Essay contest.
Orange County Veterans Day, celebrated on October 29, is observed every year since 2006 in honor of 40 local soldiers who lost their lives during World War I at the Battle of the Hindenburgh Line. The day focuses on their sacrifices as well as all lost Orange County soldiers and their families.
The essay prompt “Why is it important to have holidays like Orange County Veterans Memorial Day?” was a mandatory classroom assignment for Participation in Government taught by Jonathan Redeker.
The students were presented with certificates honoring their winning essays by County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus.
Michael Glick’s first place essay
The United States possess one of the world’s most powerful and capable, and well-trained armed forces on the planet. There are currently around 21 million veterans of the United States armed forces living in the nation, and about 1.5 million active duty soldiers, while about 800,000 more are in the military’s different reserve branches. Whether active duty, reserve, or veteran the mentality of an American soldier is unmatched. Always ready to protect their fellow Americans and enemies and from those who denounce the moral values of freedom.
Over the years, Orange County has had a great share of military influence, dating back to the revolutionary war, due to the strategic advantages of having the Hudson River right in our backyard. With a United States Air National Guard base located at Stewart international airport in Newburgh, one of the world’s most renowned military schools, The United States Military Academy at West Point, The National Purple Heart Hall of Fame in New Windsor and the veterans cemetery located in The Town of Goshen. I have lived in Orange County my whole life and have been personally influenced by individuals who have served throughout my life. My great grandfather served in the United States Navy, both of my grandfathers served in the United States Army and my father, as well as my uncle, served in the United States Air force, all who have at one point or another, lived in Orange County. Days like Orange County’s Veterans Memorial Day are days meant to remember those who have dedicated and sacrificed their own time and lives to serve their country. Without the work of both our current active military and our veterans, life as we know it would not be possible.
The holiday of Orange County Veterans Memorial Day, honoring the lives of those who have served and sacrificed themselves, like the forty soldiers from Orange County who lost their lives on September 29th, 1918 at the Battle of the Hindenburg Line, for their country from Orange County reminds us that freedom is not free. It shows us that even as local as in our county, people lay their lives on the line to protect their fellow Americans as well as defend the values of freedom, which make this country such a great place to live. Without the selfless acts of those who serve, we would not have the freedoms we are so lucky to be able to live with day in and day out, and without holidays like Orange County Veterans Memorial day, people often forget the sacrifice so many have made so they are able to live the way they do.
If it was not for those who have served, I would not be able to live my life the way I do. I would not be able to go to school, day in and day out. I would not be able to get together with my friends on the weekends. I would not be able to do what I want to do, say what I want to say, or believe in whatever I want to believe. Orange County Veterans Memorial Day’s importance is to highlight the sacrifice many Orange County citizens have made serving their country, and remind young people like myself how lucky they are to live in a nation which has been served by so many selfless individuals.
Madison Karpoff’s second place essay
There are many things we celebrate in our lives. We celebrate birthdays, religious holidays, significant events in history, etc., but why? We celebrate these events so that we never forget them. A day of the year that brings people together in many communities is a memorial day. By definition, a memorial day is a day where people commemorate the lives lost due to participation in military activities. In Orange County, we celebrate Orange County Veterans Memorial Day. Orange County Veterans Memorial Day is an important day for the community for many reasons and should never be neglected.
I believe it is important to celebrate anniversaries of the past. Whether it be celebrating religious holidays to remember important figures and events that occurred, or more recent accounts such as 9-11, recognizing the past is important. Sometimes, facing difficult times aren’t easy, but a community can ease the pain. Orange County Veterans Memorial Day is a significant day in Orange County that citizens of the community celebrate. We celebrate this day to commemorate over 200 brave members of our community who fought in World War I. This day is not only recognizes the veterans, but also recognizes the families connected to the veterans. People are greatly affected by the loss of family members and friends. Participating in community celebrations such as a memorial day benefit these families by reminding people that they aren’t alone in this world. This community event also reminds people who were affected by tragedy during World War I and other military services that their family members and friends didn’t lose their lives for nothing, and that their dedication was appreciated.
Orange County’s Veterans Memorial Day isn’t just for the people who were affected by tragedy, but also for the generations to come. Although people who were affected by the tragedy will always remember their lost loved ones, the remembrance would not survive without an anual day to recognize it. People who didn’t experience the loss of family and friends during World War I would not be aware of the tragedy in the community if the memorial day wasn’t recognized. When new generations arise, they need to be educated on these events. If people didn’t live through an event and aren’t educated about a topic, it is likely that the person will find the topic irrelevant to them. Community gatherings bring knowledge to these unaware people, thus enabling these people to feel compassion towards other members of the community. The memorial day to remember our past and those who served our country can be compared to a other significant days that we remember such as a religious holidays or the independence day. These noteworthy days are the equivalent to a history lesson; without the lesson, people would not be aware of the past and would not be able to avoid repetition of issues in the future.
Orange County Veterans Memorial Day is a crucial day in the Orange County community. Loved ones are remembered and appreciated for their dauntless actions, and family and friends are reminded that they are not alone for their grieving. Acknowledging memorial days in the community is also important because it makes the succeeding generations conscious about the past and enable them to feel gratitude.